#Grenfell: hoses turned off, two stairwell exits closed

The SKWAWKBOX

grenfell burn.pngRumours have abounded about compromised safety measures and the spread of the fire at Grenfell Tower, from gas pipes in the stairwell to emergency exits closed because of the proximity of the Kengington Aldridge Academy building to the base of the block.

Now the SKWAWKBOX can reveal two shocking aspects of the disaster, confirmed by concerned members of the London Fire Brigade crews who fought the blaze.

Hoses were turned off

A firefighter told this blog that the initial refrigerator fire was extinguished by firefighters inside the apartment, but had spread through the wall to the outside of the block. This much is already common knowledge.

What is not known, however, is that firefighters had turned off the hose they had trained on the outside wall of the block.

This may sound damning, but is in fact not uncommon. The usual practice in a tower fire is to train a…

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#Grenfell firefighters tell what should’ve happened – and of disciplinary risk

The SKWAWKBOX

grenfell firefighters.pngThe SKWAWKBOX has covered many aspects of the Grenfell Tower disaster, from the closed emergency exits and gas shut-offs reported by firefighters to the superhuman efforts of crews who ran into an inferno time and time again; from the use of materials that had been reported as a deadly risk for years and the sham tests that let them pass, to a list of 41 questions that must be answered if police or a public inquiry are to get to the real facts needed for justice and to safeguard high-rise residents in future.

Now, thanks to testimony by firefighters who, for obvious reasons, cannot be named, the SKWAWKBOX can relate what should have happened that night were it not for government cuts – and that firefighters face potential disciplinary action for their diligence and dedication to duty on that terrible night in June.

What should have happened

The government has…

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Young Labour’s blistering statement on member disenfranchisement

The SKWAWKBOX

young-labLast month, the SKWAWKBOX revealed an anti-democratic move to disenfranchise huge numbers of ‘Young Labour’ (YL) members by imposing an ‘electoral college’ delegate system on YL’s annual conference. The change was claimed by Labour’s General Secretary Iain McNicol to have been proposed by YL, which YL’s committee subsequently vehemently denied. The change was left to the NEC’s largely right-dominated officers and looks certain to be pushed through.

Now YL’s National Committee has issued a strongly-worded statement against the move, signed by many YL members and CLP youth officers:

Young Labour National Committee members would like to make clear that the conference arrangements for the Young Labour Policy Conference in Autumn fall far short of what we expect for the members that we represent.

At every stage, there has been a lack of accountability and transparency. The proposal made in the name of Young Labour determining allocation of delegates was put…

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BAME Labour result is anything but unexpected

The SKWAWKBOX

It was announced today that MP Keith Vaz had defeated the challenge by Leeds councillor Asghar Khan for the ‘BAME Labour’ (BL) place on Labour’s ruling NEC (National Executive Committee). This has been portrayed as a ‘unexpected blow’ for Momentum, which had backed Khan:

fisher bame.pngWhile there’s no question that Momentum would have wished to see Vaz replaced on the NEC, it was not unexpected. Many viewed Khan’s candidacy as important to highlight the issue rather than for any serious chance of victory – because BL appears to be far from representative of Labour’s black and ethnic membership which, like the rest of Labour’s membership, is largely pro-Corbyn and therefore unlikely to vote other than for the most pro-Corbyn candidate.

BL is an affiliated organisation that is meant to protect and promote the interests of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in the Labour Party.

However, contrary to what you’d…

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Former Abuse Inquiry Panelist: Counsel Silenced Me So That May Could Become Prime Minister.

Researching Reform

In a controversial interview released today, former Child Abuse Inquiry panel member Sharon Evans makes a startling number of revelations about the Inquiry.

A child abuse survivor and journalist who founded children’s charity Dot Com, Sharon accuses the Inquiry of trying to stifle concerns about the way the investigation was being run so that Theresa May could be pushed into office as Prime Minister.

Ms Evans also said that there was no independence whatsoever at the Inquiry, and that the confidentiality clause which all panel members had to sign, effectively prevented her and others from exposing the truth.

She goes on to allege that Ben Emmerson QC, who was lead counsel for the Inquiry at the time, warned her that if she made her concerns public, she would be discredited. Sharon tells Talk Radio:

“I was taken to one side and it was made clear to me, I was…

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Video: Hunt still planning #NHS Professionals sell-off. Help stop him

The SKWAWKBOX

Even though the government loves to blame ‘agency staff costs’ for many of the troubles in our NHS, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is still planning to sell NHS Professionals – by far the most cost-effective way for hospitals and other health organisations to obtain staff – to private buyers, who will then push costs up costs and wages down in order to make a profit.

This is bad for staff, bad for our economy – and very bad for the NHS – and it shows up the government’s ‘concern’ for us, our health and those who look after it for the charade it is.

We Own It collected huge numbers of signatures on a petition against the sell-off and Labour MP Justin Madders has asked the Audit Office to investigate. We Own It is asking everyone to raise awareness and build pressure by sharing this video calling for a public…

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Video: #BritishGas price rockets – but where’s the #MSM u-turn outrage?

The SKWAWKBOX

Around 6 million British Gas customers are reeling today after Centrica, the owner of British Gas, announced that the utility would be increasing its electricity prices by a staggering 12.5%. Centrica CEO Iain Conn told Sky News:

The mainstream media has covered the understandable outcry over the scale of the increase at a time when the real-terms income and living standards of many people are going backwards, especially when the organisation imposing the price increase made around £2.2 billion in profits last year.

One thing that has been absent from media coverage, however, is any semblance of outrage at the government’s abandonment of its election promise to cap energy prices.

Compare this with the faux-furore that plastered almost every newspaper front page and news broadcast, as well as the social media feeds of Conservative HQ and MPs, with regard to Jeremy Corbyn’s supposed u-turn – on a student…

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